ASCL comment on Sutton Trust report on lack of mental health support

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to research from the Sutton Trust into the difficulties young people are having in accessing mental health support.
“The fact that the incidence of poor mental health among young people remains very high is not only the legacy of the pandemic but also the impact of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis on families.
“Even before this surge in demand, specialist mental health services in many areas were unable to cope. Consequently, young people with complex needs often face very long and unacceptable waits for the support they urgently require. This in turn plays a part in the high rates of pupil absence experienced across the country with young people missing out on education that is vital to their life chances.
“It is particularly disturbing that this study finds that young people in the most deprived parts of the country are less likely to have received support than those in affluent areas. Once again, it seems that it is the poorest who suffer the most.
“It is of the utmost importance that more resources are put into mental health support services for young people, that those who require specialist treatment receive that treatment immediately, and that the government tackles the very high rate of child poverty in the UK.
“None of this should really need saying and yet we seem to be in a situation of having said this repeatedly for years without this action being taken.”